Us motorists have to put with a lot when driving through the city. Congestion charges, near suicidal cycle couriers, lemming-like pedestrians who dart in front of traffic in a mad rush to get to wherever it is they’re going, and, of course, zombies. Okay, so maybe the last one is only reserved for computer games, but those of you who drive around our great capital will know where I’m coming from at least.
Zombie Driver, from EXOR Studios, put’s you in control of a weaponised car, as you hurtle through a free-roaming city infested with the ever popular brain chompers. A disaster at a chemical plant, which was situated in the city (Health and Safety would have a field day) has turned the poor population into them of the un-healthy looking skin and penchant for cranium à la carte. As the horde approach, you leg it into your taxi and manage to burn rubber to safety. Now, with the help of the military, you must drive back through the deadly streets in order to rescue survivors.
The action takes place in a kind of bird’s eye, top down view, focusing on your vehicle as you plough through a zombie road block. Blood, lots of blood, manic driving and collecting stuff is the name of the game, as you battle through 17 odd missions, together with sub-missions, goals and bonuses.
Completing missions will grant you huge lumps of much needed cash, which you can spend on upgrading the armour, ramming, speed and health of your vehicle, or upgrading the weapon systems, miniguns, flamethrowers, rocket launchers or dual railguns. And believe me, you will need them.
The zombies, although of the shambling along variety, attack in huge numbers. So huge in fact that driving through them at full speed will slow your vehicle down to a stop. Using the occasional tactic won’t do any harm. Pull the handbrake and mow down a load of zombie dogs that are chasing you, visit dismembering death upon fat explosive zombies and move quick enough to avoid the damage they’ll cause to your vehicle.
Luckily, if you have a keen eye you’ll spot some pickups hidden down back alleys or in gardens. The pickups can vary from health boosts (they will repair a percentage of your vehicle) to piles of cash and much needed ammunition. But that’s not all with Zombie Driver. No, that’s only the mission campaign.
If you’re getting a little bored with driving into the city, rescuing people, watching them run into your car then heading back to base, then have a go at the Blood Race. A tournament that pits you against other CPU controlled cars, that are trying to take you out and leave you to fend against the zombie laden race tracks without a hope in hell. Collect big cash bonuses for winning and top the coveted leaderboard.
If racing isn’t your thing, then have a try at the Slaughter Mode, which pretty much speaks for itself really. As you can guess, you enter the arena and have to survive for as long as possible against a ridiculous amount of zombies.
Is it fun? Well, yes it is. Zombie Driver is a good, well polished game. Although I have to say that it’s best played in short bursts. Whilst the game won’t win any awards for the complexity of the storyline or the missions, it does offer some rather good nitro-fuelled carnage to feast upon for a quick half hour or so.
Graphically, the game is very reasonable, despite the fact that intense moments of Stig-esque driving can leave you feeling a little seasick. The smashable objects, other than the zombies, leave you feeling semi-satisfied at their destruction and the splat of a well aimed tyre on the head of the walking dead can bring a grin to the face. Needless to say, the sound effects coincide with the graphical level of blood and guts, and the roar of the engine from any of the eight available vehicles is as well received as the sound of the miniguns tearing into the zombies.
As with most modern games, it’s not so much the game out of the box that will determine its ultimate success, it’s the DLC and amount of modding that can be injected to prolong its life. Thankfully, Zombie Driver has huge potential for this, and with careful planning it could quite easily be around for quite some time.
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